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Cray Valley manager Kevin Watson reacts to FA Vase semi-final aggregate win over Southern Counties East League rivals Canterbury City

Cray Valley boss Kevin Watson admits reaching the final of the FA Vase will probably take a while to sink in.

The Millers booked their place against either Northwich Victoria or Chertsey after securing a 2-1 aggregate win over Southern Counties East League rivals Canterbury City.

Valley led 1-0 from the first leg and made sure of a historic appearance at the national stadium on May 19 by drawing the second leg before a City club record crowd of 1274 at Salters Lane on Saturday.

Cray Valley's players celebrate at the final whistle Picture: Keith Gillard
Cray Valley's players celebrate at the final whistle Picture: Keith Gillard

Gavin Tomlin's 71st minute strike put them 2-0 ahead on aggregate before City defender Gary Sayer set nerve-ends jangling with an 89th minute equaliser.

Watson, whose side are also still chasing promotion, explained: "It's a great feeling, it possibly hasn't sunk in yet, possibly won't.

"We're celebrating, we don't usually celebrate after results.

"We're celebrating so that's a goodexperience, but it will take time to settle in. It's a long way off yet though (the final) and we've got a job to do in the league.

"We've got to try and put pressure on (leaders) Corinthian which will be difficult but we'll give it a go.

"We've got an important league game on Wednesday against Bearsted, they proved difficult opposition last time so we'll try not to have a hangover.

Gavin Tomlin curls home the goal which put Cray Valley 2-0 ahead on aggregate against Canterbury at Salters Lane on Saturday Picture: Keith Gillard
Gavin Tomlin curls home the goal which put Cray Valley 2-0 ahead on aggregate against Canterbury at Salters Lane on Saturday Picture: Keith Gillard

"I'd like to think we won't, I think the players I've got in the dressing room, one of the reasons they're at the club is a personality thing, they're not that sort of people.

"If they were we probably wouldn't be in the position we are now.

"Look teams are going to want to beat us even more now, and make a statement 'We've beaten the team who are in the FA Vase final' so we just need to concentrate on our own performance."

There was little to choose between the two sides over the two legs but Watson says his team are in the final on merit.

He explained: "Look I don't feel guilty about winning this fixture. I've never said this before and I don't want it to sound arrogantbut I think we're one of the best two teams in the country at this level.

"I make no apologies for it, it's my opinion and we deserve to be in the final.

"I don't need to comment about whether we were the better team. I don't mean to sound disrespectful to Canterbury but this group of players absolutely deserves to be there."

Valley keeper and captain Andy Walker – one of the heroes from the first game – missed the second leg through injury but Watson revealed the club's regular No.1 will play in the final.

Watson explained: "Look he's the captain, he's the captain for a reason.

Cray's Kevin Lisbie, right, looks to get a shot away under pressure from Canterbury's Gary Sayer Picture: Keith Gillard
Cray's Kevin Lisbie, right, looks to get a shot away under pressure from Canterbury's Gary Sayer Picture: Keith Gillard

"He hasn't played today, not many people would be that selfless to let another goalkeeper come into their position and be speaking to them all throughout the week trying to give them some information on us to improve the performance.

"Absolutely no doubt he will play at Wembley so let's just clarify that.

"Deren's (Deren Ibrahim) done a really good job, he's come in and done us a favour.

"He may be called upon again in the season possibly because there are a lot of games to play, but it's great for a player like Walks.

"Like I say he's the captain, the boys know that, he's gone and done the team talk on the pitch before the game today so people like him make my job easy."

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